The Online Citizen

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields – Singapore should speak up and stand on the side of right and justice

March 22
13:42 2012

TOC sent the following email to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations today:

Mr K Shanmugam 
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Albert Chua
Permanent Representaitve of Singapore to United Nations
Dear Minister and Permanent Representative to UN
As concerned Singaporeans who are keen to see Singapore maintain her good standing in the international community, we request the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs to weigh in on the recent allegations levied against the Sri Lankan government for war crimes against humanity, allegedly carried out at the close of the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam in 2009.
In recent documentaries titled 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' and 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished', the United Kingdom's Channel 4 has brought to light disturbing evidence that supports allegations that the Sri Lankan government had deliberately targeted civilians in the civil war. Based on current available evidence, the United Nations has also called on the Sri Lankan government to accede to further investigation into the matter.
As a responsible member of the United Nations and of the international community, Singapore has a responsibility to play her part in ensuring that justice is done. This is doubly so, given that Singapore is a small nation with an interest in seeing international law, and not the law of jungle, prevail.
The civilian survivors of the Sri Lankan civil war are still living in deplorable conditions, with no proper roof over their heads and under threat of persecution. They have been denied of their rights, and what the UN decides will play a significant role in their futures, if not their very lives.
The UN Human Rights Council is currently discussing this matter. While Singapore is not a member of the UN HRC, nevertheless she can — and should — speak up and stand on the side of right and justice. Singapore is a respected voice on the international stage, and there can be great value in a statement by the Singapore government outside of the UN HRC.
When Singapore first joined the UN in 1965, then Foreign Affairs Minister S. Rajaratnam declared that Singapore was interested in fighting “wars that matter to the people (such as) the war against poverty, ignorance, disease, bad housing, unemployment, and anything and everything which deny dignity and freedom to our fellow men”. If there was ever such a time of need to fulfill the promise of our former Foreign Minister, this will be it.
As such, we sincerely request that the Singapore Government join international efforts in:
  1. Demanding for an independent, internationally led investigation into the alleged human rights contraventions in Sri Lanka in 2009;
  2. Stressing for immediate attention to be paid to alleviate the suffering of the survivors of the civil war, who currently live in dismal conditions and are still at risk of military persecution; and 
  3. Pressing for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and duly punished.
Thank you.
Ravi Philemon
Choo Zheng Xi
Siew Kum Hong
Joshua Chiang
Leong Sze Hian
Kumaran Pillai
Howard Lee
for The Online Citizen

The two documentaries (warning Graphic Violence) HERE.  


  • reservist_cpl

    Spelling mistake: dully punished (though I agree that punishment should not be particularly interesting).

  • lim

    There is already a US sponsored resolution on this due for vote tomorrow. I think Singapore would wait for the outcome of the vote first but is more likely not to state anything official. This especially when it doesn't have the full facts and haven't gone thru a thorough review instead of relying on TV producers who are more known for producing programmes like "Big brother".
    Otherwise, it risks being like Malaysia who was blindsided into supporting Sri Lanka on this issue and may continue to do so despite NGOs writing to the Government on this. For proponents, they might be interested to know that PM Singh has publicly announced support for the US resolution.


    the world leaders must put a STOP to all these injustices and violence.
    govts should not manipulate the comm citizens of the world to achieve their own parochial objectives.
    it is sad that even as the world supposedly become 'globalised',we are witnessing more rather than less barbaric practices and actions and uncivil 'inaction' from wolrd leaders such as UN etc.

  • Eddy Blaxell

    Not sure why a government that doesn't believe in Human Rights or international processes, and has refused to sign the ICCPR and ICECSR, would suddenly start believing in human rights now.

    Noble intentions but bound to fall on deaf ears.

  • son of s

    It is convenient to call on other  governments to observe Human Rights. The Singapore Government is not fit to talk about Human Rights. Do not confuse the Human Rights Movement.

  • ed

    This 'imperial kow-towing mandarin' approach in 'requesting', 'urging', ‘imploring’ and other equivalents simply serve as proof of a lack of conviction. 
    Those blokes asking the singapore government to 'stand up' and speak against atrocities, and in this case, against Tamils in Sri Lanka should get off his knees and say it with conviction and gusto.
    a2ed's response

  • seasand123

    The majority of the world's nations are begining to acknowledge the atrocitiess committed by the Sri Lankan army aginst the Tamil civilians during and aftermath of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels. The evidences speak for themselves.
    Lets see how's our Government"s position on this one of the cruellest acts of violence in this century against unarmed civilians by a fully armed army with a tacit approval by a government hell bent on wiping out its opponents.
    A plea to our government, state clearly where you stand and no fence sitting please and act conscientiously. 


    you all har… ha ha ha as though the united nation board will listened to you?
    UN is alway a properganda tools for the RICH government in power..when usa launched their war against saddam hussien..the UN/NATO is not keen nor interested….
    the UN today is not liked the early 80s it gone economics…money$ come 1st..nothin else matter
    what is a few million refugees death to the UN…polpot slaughtered millions..the african mini states slaughtered the equalvalent..has any of them bein hung? beside saddam hussein?

  • Saran

    Aiyoh, what else is there to say, sense of justice and speaking up -  look at the sorry state of affairs here lah.
    No wonder many got labelled as being daft!

  • Damn

    Nobody in the UN will bother about SG stance. We are just one black spot, too insignificant! I don't think our dear minister S will even bother to respond. Even if he does, it'll most likely to be a no-brainer. 

  • raju

    rajapakshe came to singapore,and phony tan welcome him with wine,his wife name was given to a orchid flower,thats wat singapore done,i thank toc for bringing out this issue,those dead souls will bles toc

  • john

    to Son of S.  agree with your remarks completely.  Insofar as human rights is concerned, Singapore under the present administration should just shut up and clean its own backyard first.

  • eremarf

    TOC – this is a worthy goal. But Singaporeans won't stand behind you for this – to them this is a non-issue (or a small one).

    I don't know which is the greater tragedy. But this is partly a result of most Singaporeans' conservative outlook. Why will they defend the lives and dignities of those abroad – when they refuse to do it for their fellow Singaporeans? I get such responses such as "Cannot even get enough rest, still want to worry about other country people?", "I more worried about how to afford a house…" etc, and they just change topics.

    In any case – kudos for raising awareness – but I think Singapore will not play a major role in obtaining justice for the Sri Lankan Tamils. :-( I can just imagine Singaporeans talking to their MPs at MPS or Facebook and urging them to represent them in Parliament – and seeing MPs speak up about Sri Lanka in Parliament.

  • mice is nice

    "the war against poverty, ignorance, bad housing, unemployment, and anything and everything which deny dignity and freedom to our fellow men", still ranges on in Sg till this day…
    so much for trumpeting progress every now & then.

  • dd

    its about time someone said something about this in Singapore. They named a stupid orchid after this particular President of Sri Lanka.

    I mean seriously, this guy has been accused of war crimes and his general have spoken out against him. Now they will probably ignore the letter but you need to increase the awareness among the Youth. The youth tend to be less apathetic to suffering, they're not yet conditioned to be immune.

  • Mice is nice supporter

    @Mice is nice
    Hi. I agree with what you are saying totally. Our country is really doing so badly that many of us are suffering now. There is no food and the current situation is almost as bad those in our neighboring countries. 

  • lim

    UNHCR passed the resolution 24-15 (with 8 abstentions). Amongst the "against" were actually most Asian countries incl China and Indonesia.

  • Manfred

    Economic, financial and security issues are the main pivots of our foreign policy.  Interference in domestic issues are a no-no.  The Government objects very vehemently whenever any foreign elements interfere in our domestic matters and so it is vice-versa when it comes to other nations domestic issues.

  • beeen

    but what about the poor children soldiers in Africa? Are we not gonna shoot another letter to help them?

  • Baffled

    I'm not so politically savvy but why aint India, a huge subcontinent country, doing anything for the Sri Lankan Tamils.
    After all the majority of Tamils reside in Tamil Naidu, a proviince of India itself.  Just acros the Straits.

  • lockeliberal

    The images are horrific but understandable if you put it into the context of the brutal twenty year civil war  waged by the Tamil Tigers.  

    There are no saints in this war least of all the victims portrayed in this confilct and like any civil war the civillians end up being targetted by both sides.  

    A truth and reconciliation committe would probably work best but the Sinhanalese majority who elected the President who want the war would not want a war crimes trial.  



  • lim

    India actually sided with the Government by militarily intervening in the war against the LTTE. It was surprising that they actually supported the US resolution.

  • son of s

    Human Rights is violated all over the world. Man is a wolf to man. The UN Human Rights Council is a small beacon that hardly has any light except sporadically here and there for a nrief duation of time, atrocities are recognized and halted. And even the perpetrators brought for trial. For Singapore to voice its concern for Human Rights is a non starter. Its ruling regime, disdains democracy, freedom of speech, freedom to choose one's government, independence of the judiciary and all the things that confer dignity to Man. Joining Singapore to the quest for Human Rights in Sri Lanka gives a bad taste to the mouth.  It may even inject those ingrained propensity to take advantage of the weak into  Sri lanka and by so doing add a layer of complexity to their problems.

  • Citizens Rights

    Citizens Rights commands top priority as it is a subset of Human Rights.
    How to advocate Human Rights when Citizens Rights are perpetually violated?
    How to tell others offhand when homeground practices dont conform to what really needs to be preached? Isnt it a sort of perverse irony?
    Well, the answer is blowing in the wind. The Wind of Change.

    Or isit kind of judging a person by his facebook? Beats around.

  • Puppy cannot make it

    How about protesting to Uncle Sam of his soldier who killed 17 Afghan civilians, to be tried in Afghanistan than in Usa.
    Usa is a hypocritical country who is ever wanting to fight a war and shed violence. But its media machine will always portray its war as just war. Others people war will always be violation against human rights.

  • eaglefly

    sri lankans are buddhist and they have to right to defend the nation from indians from india.
    they are not the same, sri lankans are not indians, some may share same name but these are not idol worshippers.
    indians from india should just go home to tamil nadhu or what ever crap place.
    when  indians come here to seperate singapore, you'll know what i mean, until then,
    Dafts are real DAFTS !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Puppy cannot make it

    US of A, please stop all your violence and belligerent acts while trying very hard to portray that you are protecting the rights of mankind and policing your way around the world. Only the foolish fallen to your proproganda via your CNN media. Now your CNN tries very hard to portray that solder of yours to be a "Decorated" soldier who had lost his minds due to what family problem, marital problem or even war related psychiatric reason… All excuses trying to pave way to lessen his crime against humanity. Also, the US soldiers who urinated on the enemies are truly despicable. Yet Hillary Clinton got the cheek to call Russia and China being despicable when they voted against the resolution to act against Syria.

  • truth

    lanka singalese are idol worshipers too,u can find budhist statue every where in lanka.history stated that singalese came from india"s orissa state,go and read your mahavamsam,singalese should not forget that it was india,supply weapons to fight against tamiltigers,,mm lee said the corectly that daft are real dafts

  • oms

    having a hard time to FO the foreigners and still fight for human right…really dafts

  • fat hope

    Dont waste time and effort,  they will  not listen to Singapore Government. They  will never compromise.

  • Human rights isn’t just for talk

    "UNHCR passed the resolution 24-15 (with 8 abstentions). Amongst the "against" were actually most Asian countries incl China and Indonesia."
    India voted in favor of the resolution and proudly uphold the humanity and democracy over abject violation of human rights even if India was the country lost their Ex Prime Minister on terrorist attack by LTTE.
    Proud to be Indian.

  • War Crime Tribunals

    First we should close our own war history chapter by bringing war crimes charges against the Japanese soldiers for their crimes against civilians in Spore during WWII.

    Even if it was 50 yrs aao, at leasy some kinf of closure would be there for the terrible sufferings and deaths of civilians that happened on our own soil not so long ago,
    John John

  • lim

    The Japs don't even want to acknowledge the comfort women issue. Dun expect anyone, even Singaporeans, to bother with an event like the Sook Ching Massacre.

  • Truedirect

    Hey hey, we can.t be that righteous… we have enough domestic matters of concerns to Singaporeans. Please ne focus on our own issues and leave Ceylon to themselves and other powers .. every family has its own problems… 

  • John holmes

    The Indian Government is of no help to Sri lankan tamils. During Indian Peace keeping force days, it was the Indian Army who were raping the Sri Lankan Tamils. Why do you think the LTTE blew Rajiv Gandhi up? You need a king cobra like Rajapakse to eat up the LTTE snakes. General Sarath Fonseka was the better person but no match for the King Cobra.